Sexual addiction is described as a progressive intimacy disorder characterized by compulsive sexual thoughts and acts. Like all other addictions, its negative impact on the addict and on family members increases as the disorder progresses. Over time, the addict has to intensify the addictive behavior to achieve the same results.For some sex addicts, behavior does not progress beyond compulsive masturbation or the widespread use of pornography or phone or computer sex services.(Smith, 2010) For others, addiction can involve illegal activities such as voyeurism, exhibitionism, obscene phone calls, child molestation or rape. Sex addicts do not inevitably become sex offenders. Furthermore, not all sex offenders are sex addicts. According to psychcentral roughly 55% of convicted sex offenders can be considered sex addicts. About 71% of child molesters are sex addicts. For many, their problems are so severe that imprisonment is only the way to ensure society's safety against them.(Cooper,2000)
According to a sex poll of over 8,000 women conducted by WomanSavers.com, over 54% of women said they were sexually molested by an adult male as a child. Statistics such as these are shocking and confirm how serious of a problem sexual addiction actually is in our society.Society has accepted that a sex offender's actions stems not from sexual fulfillment, but rather out of a disturbed need for power, dominance, control or revenge, or a perverted expression of anger. More recently, however, an awareness of brain changes and brain reward related with sexual behavior has led us to understand that there are also powerful sexual drives that motivate sex offenses. (Smith, 2010)
There are several criteria established by psychological professionals to determine whether or not an individual needs sexual addiction treatment. While all of the following signs and symptoms of sexual addiction may not apply to every individual, the presence of one or more of them strongly suggests that professional help should be sought out.
Sign and symptoms of sexual addiction
Unable to resist sexual impulses, even with an understanding that it puts the individual's health or relationships in jeopardy.
A preoccupation with sex and sexual behavior
An inordinate amount of time spent pursuing sex or engaging in sexual behavior
Entering into high risk sexual situations including: transmission of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, herpes or other venereal diseases (VD)
Repeated unsuccessful attempts to stop the compulsive sexual behavior.
Statistics regarding sexual addiction treatment
According to research at the National Council on Sexual Addiction Compulsivity, anywhere from 6% to 8% of all Americans can be classified as addicted to sex. This represents an astounding 18-24 million people.
A recent study by Stanford University for MSNBC reported that 25 million Americans spend between 1 and 10 hours a week looking at pornography online, and that another 4.7 million individuals spend over 11 hours per week view porn sites.
Studies have found that the fastest growing 12-step programs in the world involve sexual addiction, including: Sex Addicts Anonymous, Sexaholics Anonymous, and Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. (Cooper,2000)
What to expect during sexual addiction treatment
Entering into a sexual addiction treatment program can ...